By Maha Ellawati.
Benghazi, 8 November 2013:
Army units were deployed on Bengahzi streets today and air force plans flew overhead in a . . .[restrict]mass show of stregnth designed to reassure residents that the tide of violence that has engulfed the city for more than a year was finally being swept back.
According to Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR) spokesman Abdullah Zeidi, as many as 8,000 vehicles took part. He said they belonged to the army as well to units such as the Special Forces (Saiqa Brigade), infantry brigades, the marines and the special air forces divisions. Other supporters also took part. The head of the Saiqa Brigade, Colonel Wanis Bukhamada, was also present at a gathering of army officials in the city’s Kish Square.
The show follows the appointment of city’s new military supremo, Colonel Awad Saiti. He was appointed head of the BJSR after its previous Colonel Younis Al-Abduli was dismissed a fortnight ago.
There was noticeably no involvement by any of the military brigades in the city, such as Libya Shield No. 1, that have been accused of having an Islamist agenda.
People in Benghazi told the Libya Herald that they were delighted to see the forces on the streets and they hoped that it would continue.
Earlier in the day, an army checkpoint at the intersection between the city’s Laithi district and the airport road was blown up by a parcel bomb. No one was hurt but the guard house with the word “Libya” above it in the national colours – red, black and green – was destroyed in what is being seen as a deliberately symbolic attack. It is the second time the checkpoint building has been attacked and destroyed.
Yesterday, an official working as a legal adviser at the Ministry of Defence in Benghazi, Haitham Obeidi, was kidnapped by an unknown group as he was heading home. His father, Major General Suleiman Obeidi, had been a military official in the Qaddafi era, but had joined the revolution at the beginning, according to Zeidi. The victim’s abandoned car was found today. [/restrict]